The Affordable Housing Complex

Direct and Exclusionary Displacement in the Lacy and Logan Neighborhoods of Santa Ana, California

Authored by: J. Revel Sims , Carolina S. Sarmiento

The Routledge Handbook of Housing Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138188433
eBook ISBN: 9781315642338
Adobe ISBN:


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As low-income communities of color face challenges due to urban gentrification, including both rising rents and varying manifestations of displacement, calls for affordable housing often surface as an equitable, anti-gentrification solution that can address both issues simultaneously. This chapter examines the relationship between gentrification and affordable housing development. Moving away from a view of gentrification as a localized dualism between gentrifiers on one end and the gentrified on the other, and instead toward one of cultural political economy nested within regime structures where actors do not fit effortlessly into binaries, we investigate the particular process of gentrification in two adjacent neighborhoods in Santa Ana, a city within Orange County, California. Using our framework, we identify the role of the affordable housing complex (AHC), which is mobilized to produce subsidized affordable housing, but at the same time, rather than forming a component of anti-gentrification strategies, has contributed to two types of Marcuseiane (1985) displacement—i.e., direct “last resident” and indirect “exclusionary” displacement. Based on these observations we call for the right to housing as an important part of the struggle for more equitable planning and everyday urban life.

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